Winner 1999

Arguing the World

Riverside Films

In a record year for documentaries submitted for Peabody Awards consideration, this modest production stood out as a rare television program about ideas that engages the intellect and challenges the viewer. It is the story of four key American intellectuals: literary critic and socialist Irving Howe, sociologists and moderates Daniel Bell and Nathan Glazer and political essayist and neo-conservative Irving Kristol. Born into poor immigrant homes in New York during the Depression, these men went on to success and influence in post-war America. The documentary charts their careers and changing political beliefs from their early left-wing radicalism at the City College of New York through their “de-radicalization” and diverging political paths as they became embroiled in the controversies of McCarthyism, clashed with the New Left in the 1960s and argued over the rise of Ronald Reagan. Together their writings helped shape political life on both the left and right in America. The superb production team included producer and director Joseph Dorman; executive producer Arnold Labaton; with photography by Peter Brownscome, Barrin Bonet, Wayne De La Roche and Boyd Estus; editing by Johnathan Oppenheim; and narration by Alan Rosenberg. Arguing the World proves that intelligent discourse and television are not mutually exclusive terms. For a unique film about intellectuals, intellectualism and ideas, a Peabody Award goes to Arguing the World.